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Successful collaboration... New Zealand and Chinese flags celebrate the Around the World International Bilingual Talents New Zealand Forum at Gore High School on Friday. PHOTOS: ASHLEIGH MARTIN

Pupils from China visited four Southland schools for the first Around the World International Bilingual Talents New Zealand Forum.

The final presentations were held at Gore High School on Friday.

The forum involved pupils working in groups to prepare a presentation about sport.

The aim of the forum was to improve pupils’ bilingual abilities through discussing current social issues.

There was a preliminary qualifying round at each school, with the top two teams from each host school going through to the final presentation at Gore High School.

Each team consisted of six pupils, three from China and three from New Zealand, with a total of 21 groups.

St Peter’s College principal Kate Nicholson said the teachers and delegates involved in the event were impressed by all the presentations.

“It was an excellent opportunity for our students as well as the Chinese students.”

Mrs Nicholson said it was good for pupils to collaborate on ideas and experience how people from different cultures could contribute to one another’s learning.

The forum was important because the more diversity pupils experienced the more prepared they were to approach other international opportunities later in life, she said.

“I would like to acknowledge that it was a lot of work for directors of the programme and schools, but the benefits were massive for everyone involved.”

Several awards were presented at the forum, but the two gold awards were given to teams from St Peter’s College and Gore High School.

Lunhua Education Group counsellor Hu Ming said the school’s participation strengthened the friendship between New Zealand and Chinese pupils.

“It is the close co-operation between New Zealand students and Chinese students that makes the presentations a great success.

“I hope the friendship between the New Zealand students and the Chinese students will go on forever.”

Lunhua Education Group general principal Cao Lunhua said the forum had been a great opportunity for pupils from New Zealand and China to share ideas.

“Students from two countries communicated and co-operated with each other very well, which really touched me,” he said.

Mr Cao said the Southland forum provided a unique experience for those involved.

“It was so nice to stay in New Zealand this year. The beautiful scenery, lovely students and faculties impressed me a lot.”